Gisaengchung [Parasite] (2019)

Director: Bong Joon Ho
Writer: Bong Joon Ho, Jin-won Han
Cast: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Cho, Woo-sik Choi, So-dam Park, Lee Jeong-eun, Jang Hye-jin, Park Myeong-hoon, Ji-so Jung, Hyun-jun Jung
Seen on: 22.10.2019

Content Note: (critical treatment of) classism

The Kim family – father Ki Taek (Kang-ho Song), mother Chung Sook (Jang Hye-jin) and their adult children Ki Woo (Woo-sik Choi) and Ki Jung (So-dam Park) – are barely scraping by on odd jobs, and the occasional grift. When Ki Woo hears of a position as an English teacher for the wealthy Park family, or rather their daughter, it’s a foot in the door for the entire Kim family. And they have no qualms seizing every opportunity, no matter what it may mean for other people.

Parasite is a fascinating film that develops in unexpected directions more than once. It alls packs quite the social commentary. I really enjoyed it.

The film poster showing the Kim family lounging in the Park family home. Their eyes are covered as if to anonymize them. A pair of naked legs can be seen at the front of the image.

Parasite is probably among the films where I saw the least coming. I mean, just when I thought the set-up is done and I know where the film is going, it turns into another film entirely. Actually, not just one other film – two other films, consecutively. I really loved being taken on a ride like that – it happens way too rarely.

That the film is also, at its heart, a film about class(ism), and, what’s more, a very critical look at it, makes things even better. There are so many moments where the film perfectly contrasts what it means to be rich, and what it means to be poor, and who pays for what, who has to struggle for what, how do things work for who – it’s really insightful. In the end, I kept thinking about one question: do you need to be privileged to be able to be nice?

The Kim family getting by on folding pizza cartons.

The ending was a little weird for me. I can make sense of it, I can see its symbolic appeal, but it didn’t work that well for me. Apart from that, though, I really have no complaints. It’s a perfectly crafted, excellently acted, interesting film set in a very cool house. What more could I want?

Yeon Kyo (Yeo-jeong Cho) leading Ki Taek (Kang-ho Song) into her home.

Summarizing: awesome.

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